1ST LOSS IN TRANSOUTH PLAY
LEBANON -- After letting match point slip away in the fourth set, the Cumberland University volleyball team was unable to regain control in the fifth as the Lady Bulldogs suffered their first defeat in TranSouth Conference play with a 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 24-26, 10-15) loss to Bethel University Tuesday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Leading the match 2-1, Cumberland (18-5, 5-1 TranSouth) battled back from a four-point deficit late in the fourth set to force a 19-19 tie. Bethel (8-6, 4-4) scored the next point before CU ripped off the next four points to make it 23-20 and causing the Wildcats to take a timeout.
Following the timeout Taylor Denney served her only ace of the contest giving the Bulldogs match point, however Denney’s next serve went into the net and giving Bethel extended life. The Wildcats took advantage of the gift, scoring five more points to force a fifth set.
During BU’s run Cumberland had two attacks blocked and committed one other error when Jessica Gericke hit the ball into the net.
The Wildcats carried the momentum into the final set, holding onto an 8-3 lead when the teams swapped sides of the court. Bethel scored another point before Cumberland successfully used a timeout to end a 5-0 run. BU stretched the lead to 12-5 and held the same seven-point lead at its first match point. The Lady Bulldogs stayed alive with three straight points, but a Wildcat kill closed out the match.
Cumberland started off slow, allowing the Wildcats to jump out to a 7-4 lead in the opening set before runs of 4-0 and 5-0 sandwiched around a pair of Bethel points put the home team on top by three. The Wildcats kept it close as CU wasn’t able to keep building on the lead. Cumberland committed six hitting errors in the set and just .174, but held the Wildcats, who had nine errors, to a .091 attack percentage.
The second set went down to the wire as Bethel claimed the two-point victory. Cumberland ’s largest deficit came at 19-15 before the Volleydawgs scored five of the next six points to tie the set for the eighth time. The Wildcats took two points on both sides of a Stanton kill to give them their first set point and forcing CU head coach Dwayne Deering to take a timeout.
After the break Stanton, who was named the Music City Star of the Game, threw down her third kill of the set off a Taylor Denney assist. That point was followed by a block by Stanton and Lauren Carter to keep the Wildcats at bay temporarily, but after a Bethel timeout Brooke Bowers hit her serve into the net giving BU the set victory.
The Wildcats scored the first three points before Cumberland eventually tied the third set at 4-4. From there the two teams went point-for-point until the Bulldogs started a 7-1 stretch culminating with Jessica Gericke and Stanton teaming up for a block to make the score 13-8.
Cumberland stretched the lead out to six points before the Wildcats started to mount a comeback, getting to within three. However the Bulldogs won five of the next six points to get to set point, which Bethel held off twice before committing a ball handling error to end the period.
Three days after setting a career-high with 16 kills, Stanton matched her personal best against the Wildcats, while Kaysi Arnold recorded 10 kills. Denney and Gass finished with 23 and 22 assists, while three Bulldogs – Brooke Bowers (17), Danielle Girardeau (15), Samantha Bellar (10) and Gericke (10) – had double-digit digs. Cumberland combined for 14 blocks with Laura DeGear leading the way with eight.
The Volleydawgs hit the road Thursday for a non-conference matchup against Campbellsville. The Tigers participated in the TranSouth/Mid-South Classic and went 3-1 at Cumberland earlier this month, but did not face the Bulldogs.